Film Review – Logan Lucky (2017)

It is a pleasure to see Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh come out of semi-retirement to add another film to his eclectic filmography. 2013’s ‘Side Effects’ was his last film he directed, hence to choose a suitable project to direct must be a cautious one. To see him have a good working relationship with Channing Tatum can never hurt.

Following on from ‘Magic Mike,’ ‘Haywire,’ and the aforementioned ‘Side Effects’ could culminate into a Scorsese/DiCaprio sort of relationship. However, is ‘Logan Lucky’ worth watching and will it be remembered years from now like other cool and captivating heist movies?

Let’s just say there are pro’s and con’s that equally outweigh each other. The plot is where Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina. From here with the NASCAR race being a focal point, the audience would expect intense race car sequences like ‘The Italian Job,’ but there is not one race car chase scene in the entire movie. Soderbergh has tried to recapture his magic movie making from ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ but something is not gelling correctly as the direction is shoddy and doesn’t have the same impact that ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ had or still has. In ‘Logan Lucky,’ it seems Soderbergh has attempted to create a red neck version of ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ hence there will be nothing original to add to this heist film.

If there is anything that stands out, the performances from Channing Tatum and Adam Driver surprisingly have good chemistry as brothers despite there being no resemblance. The motives of their robbery are cliché, but understandable. Tatum being made redundant and unable to provide a good life for his young daughter but yearning to is always a fine motive. Adam Driver being armless, losing one arm in an Afghan tour of duty, with no prospects to look ahead to is even a better motive. Already the audience will support their cause. Then the planning of the robbery and putting the team together is a true Soderbergh trait like Clooney’s Danny Ocean.

It is true that when Daniel Craig comes into the equation as an accomplice to the heist, his performance is the true standout. His red neck/hillbilly accent is flawless and he simply looks the part as we appreciate he has altered his appearance to bleach his hair, making him look like Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty in ‘Blade Runner.’ Craig simply looks like a cool criminal and makes the best of his performance. To see him do a Brad Pitt trait of eating in nearly every scene like Soderbergh’s definitive heist movie is unoriginal, yet still intriguing. His constant fascination of eating boiled eggs in many scenes will make the viewer feel Soderbergh is repeating familiar territory, but it can be forgiven.

To see the heist is what makes the film half decent. It tries to make crime look cool and is well orchestrated. If confusion comes to the equation, all the blanks are filled in later like Tarantino traits, and then the Coen brothers influence comes in which is what makes Soderbergh look lethargic in his direction. This is an Academy Award winner; therefore, we expect him to bring his own spin of excellent direction like he did in 2000’s ‘Traffic.’ It is the fact that Hilary Swank comes into the film 90 minutes in is wrong and immoral. She is given the Frances McDormand ‘Fargo’ police character to investigate the crime, but to see her be given do so little is disrespectful to a two-time Academy Award winner. It seems she was doing Soderbergh a favour or she was in need of work, taking whatever, she could find. Swank is better than this and should have appeared earlier in the film.

As mentioned, there are pros and cons. Perhaps it works as a standalone film, but if you’re going to compare ‘Logan Lucky’ to other Soderbergh films like ‘Traffic,’ Ocean’s Eleven’ or even ‘Haywire,’ It sadly isn’t as effective due to little action or slick direction.

Aly Lalji | [rating=3]

Comedy, Crime, Drama | USA, 2017 | 15 | 25th August 2017 (UK) | Studiocanal | Dir.Steven Soderbergh | Channing Tatum, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Adam Driver, Katie Holmes

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